The Super-Powered Gospel

The Super-Powered Gospel October 4, 2018

The Super-Powered Gospel

The Super-Powered Gospel

Colossians 1:1-2

Superpowers. We read about different people who have special powers which they use to accomplish what they need to save other people.

Spiderman uses spider senses and webbing.

Batman uses his wealth.

Superman uses his special powers that came from the planet Krypton.

The Flash uses super speed.

Tony Stark uses his technology to engineer special “Iron Man” suits which are powered by his arc reactor.

Captain America uses the super serum that was given to him to make him the ultimate super soldier.

Paul’s letter to the Colossians shows us the superpower that God gave us through His Son Jesus.

When we study Paul’s epistles we see that each has a dominant theme. In Romans, it is justification by faith. In Ephesians, it is the mystery of Christ and his Church. In Philippians, it is the joy which Christ brings. In Colossians, it is the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ as the Head of all creation and of the Church.1

In other words, Jesus is supreme or super. He is sufficient because He has super Gospel power.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother: To the saints in Christ at Colossae, who are faithful brothers and sisters. Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:1–2, CSB)

CHRISTIAN SUPER POWERS

The power of the Gospel is explained in the phrase “in Christ” here in this passage. Paul is an apostle OF Christ, and the saints are IN Christ. These two expressions tell us our identity. This new identity reveals the power of the Gospel. This Gospel power is only possible through Jesus Christ.

In Colossians, the phrase “in Christ” is another way of saying the power of the Gospel. Jesus died for our sins and was raised to life to give us power over sin. And that is usually how we view the power of the Gospel. Yet, the Gospel has much more power than just victory over sin. The Gospel gives us more power.

The power of our faith comes from Jesus alone. He is the object of our faith, but also the sustainer of our faith. He is supreme above every other god. He also sufficient. His power is both supreme and sufficient. These verses show us ways the power of Christ through the Gospel.

This greeting is packed with references to show us how the power of the Gospel operates. So, just as a superhero would “suit up” to go out into the world and do good for others, Jesus gives us this “Gospel power” to do what He wants us to do.

It is Gospel power that…

1. Sends me to share with the lost

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother:” (Colossians 1:1, CSB)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith. (Romans 1:16–17, CSB)

The word apostle means “sent one.” Christians are sent to share the Gospel with the lost. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul explains that in the Gospel is the power to save people. This power is effective for all who believe.

So it doesn’t matter how many lost people I share the Gospel with, God is the one who will make it effective to save them. That is an important truth. Because if the Gospel is powerful because of human effort, it really isn’t God’s grace that is changing people. My ability to share the Gospel is not dependent upon my own effort. Yet, God wants to use me to complete this task. God won’t send people my way to share the Gospel without giving me the ability to share it.

The word apostle not only means “sent one” but it implies a commissioning. I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ. I represent him. If I am sent to share the Gospel, then God will equip me.

In December 2004, a single question from a young soldier touched off a media firestorm. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had come to deliver a pep talk to the troops at Camp Buehring in Kuwait. But the usually unflappable secretary found himself blindsided by a bold query. As news cameras rolled, Army Specialist Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat Team asked Rumsfeld, “Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?”

Specialist Wilson clearly felt he was being sent into battle without proper protection. As Christians, however, we shouldn’t have that fear. Our Supreme Commander generously equips us with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.

But it’s up to us to put them on and put them to use.2

The reason we put on our armor is to share the Gospel and to accomplish God’s will.

2. Helps me accomplish God’s will

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother:” (Colossians 1:1, CSB)

The Gospel power helps me to accomplish God’s will. You don’t have to have special super powers to accomplish God’s will. The Gospel power already equips you.

When God calls you to a task, He always equips you with the abilities to accomplish His will. Do you ever worry about not having the right credentials needed to share Christ? Look at this story:

A speaker was presenting Christ to a large audience on one of the great university campuses. One of the professors in the audience was stricken by the power of the message and the calm and peaceful appearance of the speaker. Leaving the auditorium the professor said to a fellow professor walking beside him, “I suppose that preacher spends most of his time in study and preparation of sermons, away from the tension and strain of this busy world of ours.”

“Would you like to meet the speaker?” the fellow professor asked. “I know him well.” The professor said he would, so a meeting was scheduled for lunch the next day.

How shocked the professor was when he was taken to a snack room in one of the local factories. Sitting there at the table with the speaker, he asked the speaker about his profession. “My occupation is to do the will of God and to love people while I wait for Christ to return to earth,” the speaker replied. “Meanwhile, I operate one of the machines here at the factory.”3

The point is this: a person does not have to be a great preacher to be in the will of God. Your profession is to do the will of God and to be a strong witness for Christ no matter where God places you.4

God equips the called to do God’s will. God also provides super Gospel power support system.

3. Gives me a new faithful family and community

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother: To the saints in Christ at Colossae, who are faithful brothers and sisters. Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:1–2, CSB)

Three words describe the idea that the Gospel provides me with a new family. In other words, this Gospel power provides a supernatural support system. When you are going through life and you run into challenges, you usually fall back on a support system. Perhaps, it is your home family or your work family. Yet, some challenges in life that you can overcome with Gospel power because this power provides a new support system.

You know how superheroes come together from time to time to fight off larger threats to Earth. The Marvel heroes come together as The Avengers. The DC Comic superheroes come together as the Justice League. Well, Christians, have the church. The church is the ultimate superhero team. Three words describe this team.

1. “our brother”

Elsewhere, Paul states that Timothy is a coworker. But here, he calls Timothy a brother to every Christian in the church of Colossae. As Scot McKnight notes:

We see here not a hierarchy but coordination in a mutual calling to the gospel; if anything, calling him “brother” elevates Timothy to Paul’s status.5

So leaders of the church work together as brothers. Leadership does not have a military command structure in the church. Leadership does not have a corporate structure. The pastor is not a CEO. Instead, the church operates like one large family with many people who assume leadership roles of cooperation.

2. “saints”

The word “saint” means that we are holy. The Gospel has made us different people in our standing with God. Before Christ, God looked at us as sinners who deserved to go to Hell. However, now, God looks at us as people who are holy in His presence. We are made acceptable to God.

3. “faithful brothers and sisters”

Paul also uses the word “brothers and sisters.” We are a Gospel-powered superfamily. We are equal in value. No one person in the church is more important than another person.

4. Comes from the grace of God

“To the saints in Christ at Colossae, who are faithful brothers and sisters. Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:2, CSB)

An atheist said, “If there is a God, may he prove himself by striking me dead right now.” Nothing happened. “You see, there is not God.” Another responded, “You’ve only proved that He is a gracious God.”6

Knowing the power of the Gospel leads to the grace and peace of God in a person’s life. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. God is very gracious to us as Christians. He gives us more than we need. We accomplish all we can because of God’s grace. He sends us. He equips us. He provides for us along the way. This is all accomplished by Gospel power.

5. Leads to me to the peace of God

“To the saints in Christ at Colossae, who are faithful brothers and sisters. Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:2, CSB)

This is the word “Shalom” from Hebrew. Paul greets the church with grace and peace. The grace of God leads to the peace of God. You can’t have the peace of God without the grace of God. If you have the grace of God, it will lead you to the peace of God.

The Gospel power, this supernatural power that comes from God is available for you today. All you have to do is ask God to give it to you. His Holy Spirit transfers that power at the asking.

My automobile has the device called cruise control. On the highway, I get the speed up to the legal limit. Then I push the cruise control button. With that, I do not worry about the speed. Neither do I worry about the hills and valleys on the highway. When the car comes to a hill or mountain, the flow of gasoline increases automatically so that the car moves along at an even pace, regardless of the terrain.

In like fashion as a Christian, I can move at an even pace along life’s highway, whether the road leads through the even plains or over rugged mountains. When the going gets tough, I have the strength for every challenge because of the One putting power in me. Regardless of what is happening around me, I know joy and peace within.

Why is this possible? Because somewhere along my Christian pilgrimage I put my life in Christ-control. Have you?7

1 R. Kent Hughes, Colossians and Philemon: The Supremacy of Christ, Preaching the Word (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1989), 13.

2 Craig Brian Larson and Phyllis Ten Elshof, 1001 Illustrations That Connect (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2008), 17. Originally from Jim Bennett, “Troops Ask about Lack of Proper Equipment,” PreachingToday.com; source: “Troops Put Thorny Questions to Rumsfeld,” CNN.com (December 9, 2004)

3 Author unknown.

4 Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Practical Illustrations: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 2001), 149.

5 Scot McKnight, The Letter to the Colossians, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse et al., The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2018), 82.

6 Galaxie Software, 10,000 Sermon Illustrations (Biblical Studies Press, 2002).


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